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TCI Health Ministry says COVID cases up, information slow in coming   

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writing 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 1, 2024 – Symptomatic Covid-19 Cases are on the rise in the Turks and Caicos Islands prompting a warning from the Ministry of Health but it may be that delayed dissemination of information could put residents at risk.

According to the Ministry of Health and Human Services, the cases are concentrated in Grand Turk. Between the week of January 14 to 20th, there were eight new cases, six in Grand Turk and two in Providenciales. During the week of January 7th to 13th 10 new cases had been recorded, seven in Grand Turk and three in Providenciales.  Both updates were shared on January 29th along with a graphic indicating cases were rising and instructing residents on how to prevent infection.

Updates on the COVID-19 case count locally via the dashboard continue to be, one, two or three weeks behind. The COVID-19 dashboard, while billed as a weekly update, has been delayed for the past several months, providing residents with out-of-date information each time it is posted. Thankfully no hospitalisations have been recorded over the period.

Currently, there is no information for last week (January 21 to 27th).

When Magnetic Media carried reports of increasing COVID-19 cases in the United States in early January, the only available information on the TCI Ministry of Health website pertained to mid-December.

Now that those statistics are shared, it confirms the country was also going through an increase at that time. It is not unusual for COVID-19 cases to spike during the winter flu season along with influenza and other respiratory diseases including RSV.

Commenting on the uptick in COVID-19 cases Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services, said “We have the tools at our disposal to get tested for COVID-19 and other acute respiratory infections. Every person has a role to play in practising proper hygiene at all times to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as other communicable diseases. There are actions which you can take to protect yourself and others.”

The JN.1 variant is currently spreading rapidly in the United States, the Turks and Caicos’ largest travel partner. Turks and Caicos residents are now being asked to take extra caution to avoid infection.

The MoHHS advises:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissues in a waste basket. If a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow rather than your hands.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or the duration of singing the birthday song twice. If soap and water are not accessible, utilize an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, as germs often spread when hands come into contact with contaminated surfaces and then touch the face.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is unwell.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are unwell.
  • If you are sick or your child is sick, stay home and maintain a distance from others, particularly those in vulnerable groups, to prevent the transmission of illness.
  • Get tested and seek treatment.
  • Masks can be worn in settings where social distancing is not possible and in cases where persons are vulnerable.
  • Prioritize ample rest, hydration, nutritious eating, stress management, and physical activity to support overall well-being.

Caribbean News

PAHO Calls Americas to Increase Aedes aegypti Mosquito Control

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#PAHO#Dengue#Americas, February 23rd, 2024 – With nearly seven thousand cases of dengue and 102 deaths reported in the Americas as of early February 2024, the Pan American Health Organization is once again calling for stronger measures to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main transmitter of dengue. These numbers indicate a 157 percent increase in cases over the same period in 2023.  In the first five weeks of 2024, Peru, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay reported an increase in cases.

 

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Government

Ministry of Health and Human Services in Collaboration with UK Health Security Agency conducts Migrant Health needs Assessment  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services has partnered with a team from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) Public Health Programme to conduct a health needs assessment for communities in informal settlements throughout the TCI.  This project was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and has taken place through a series of consultations and meetings in order to assess health needs and propose recommendations to address gaps in access to health care.

A steering committee supported the preliminary discussions on developing the scope and direction for the assessment and included representation from the TCI from Dr. Dawn O’Sullivan, Dr. Camelia Clarke (Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit), Mrs. Aldora Robinson (Former Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit) and Dr. Nadia Astwood (Chief Medical Officer).

This project culminated in an in-country visit by a team which included: Annabel Grieve (Programme Management Lead), Dr. Amoolya Vusirikala (Public Health Registrar) and Allegra Chatterjee (Epidemiologist) with earlier support provided by Dr. Natalie Wright, Health Protection Lead and Consultant in Global Public Health with the UK Overseas Territories, Global Operations. The visit, which began on January 21st 2024 and concluded this week, saw a number of in-person consultations with key stakeholders across sectors, as well as community focus groups conducted in Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Following the visit, the team paid a courtesy call to the Hon. Minister of Health and Human Services, Shaun D Malcolm and the Executive Team from the Ministry of Health and Human Services, to provide a high level debrief and presentation of the preliminary findings of the assessment. Following further analysis of the findings of the visit, a final report will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Human Services which will provide a number of conclusions as well as evidence-based recommendations for consideration by the Government.

Commenting on the visit, Hon. Shaun D Malcolm stated that “we welcome this support from UKHSA and FCDO with whom the Ministry of Health has enjoyed a close working relationship and technical support over the years, to formally assess the health needs of this population in order to ensure that the overall health of our population can be addressed in a holistic manner to ensure that universal access to health care is addressed.”

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Caribbean News

Irish Humanitarian Organization in Haiti – Address Hunger Crisis and More

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti#Crisis#ConcernWorldwide, February 2oth, 2024 – Seeing that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens day by day with too many Haitians, hundreds of thousands, edging the line to severe deprivation of food, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide is addressing major food insecurity. 

 The organization in a release said “ “We are providing food assistance, via electronic vouchers to help families purchase food from local vendors so that they can feed their families and prevent malnutrition in children as the situation worsens.”

They are also working to provide Haitians with clean water and sanitation as the waterborne disease Cholera continues to threaten lives, killing more than 1,150 people in 2023.

And, they provide referrals for cases of sexual and gender based violence in Port au Prince.

Concern is supported by funding from USAID, receiving €2.1 million (euros) to help over 30 thousand people in the hunger crisis as well as €1 million (euros) yearly from the Irish Government for its work in Haiti.

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